Festival LocationCharleston, South Carolina was recently named the #1 tourist destination in the country by Travel & Leisure Magazine, and named by Conde Nast Traveler as the #1 city in the world.
Full of traditional Southern charm and hospitality, Charleston is known for its outstanding architecture with numerous antebellum houses and other notable colonial structures. The Charleston Historic District contains almost 1,500 significant buildings, many of which are listed as landmarks on the National Register.
Founded in 1670, Charleston is home to countless charming streets full of history, guided tours, and a host of tourist attractions. Nearby islands and beaches and a tropical climate make Charleston a particularly compelling city.
Performance Site & TimesBurke High School Auditorium
244 Presidents Street
The 2014 Festival will be held on April 12th. Performance times range from 9:00am to 5:00pm with awards to be presented at the performance site at the conclusion of each class performances.
Actual performance times will be set once the total number of participating groups is determined. The time of your performance will depend upon your grade of music and the number of groups participating in each class. A full schedule of performing groups will be made available three weeks prior to the festival date.
Our PurposeThe Charleston Music Festival was founded by music educators for the express purpose of providing an experience that will enrich music students in their quest to become better individual musicians and better ensemble players.
Our MissionCharleston Music Festival’s mission is to provide an opportunity for students to gain the personal satisfaction and reward that comes from the process of learning a piece of music, injecting that music with individual creativity and expression, and performing it to a high enough standard to be emotionally moving – an experience in which all performers and the audience win.
President & CEO
Jerry Gatch is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A graduate of Lexington High School, he went on to complete the Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Music in Theory and Composition and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees at the University of South Carolina. He studied horn with Robert Pruzin, composition with Dick Goodwin and Sam Douglas, and conducting with William J. Moody.
Dr. Gatch was the Director of Bands at Lexington High School (SC) for twenty years where he led the bands to consistently receive Superiors at state, regional, and national festivals and contests including a State Marching Band Championship in 1993. Since that time, Lexington is the only 5-A marching band to be a finalist every year. Under Dr. Gatch, the LHS Wind Ensemble has won National Adjudicator Invitational competitions many times and has performed at the SCMEA In-Service Conference twice, the USC Band Clinic twice, NBA/CBDNA Southern Division, MENC Southern Division, the BOA National Concert Band Festival, The Disney Honors, and two governors’ inaugurations. Prior to working at Lexington High School, Dr. Gatch taught at the middle school level for six years including two years of teaching orchestra.
Dr. Gatch is active as an adjudicator, clinician, arranger, and performer. He has been a guest conductor for many honor bands and orchestras across the country. He is a free-lance conductor and performer on horn and bass and continues to arrange and compose for many different media. Dr. Gatch continues to conduct the SC Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Lexington United Methodist Choir. Dr. Gatch has been awarded the National Band Associations Citation of Excellence on seven occasions. He was elected to the Band World Legion of Honor and in 2012 was inducted into the SC Band Directors Association Hall of Fame. His present or former professional memberships include the National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, the American School Band Directors Association, the Percussive Arts Society, American String Teachers Association, the South Carolina Music Educators Association, and the South Carolina Band Directors Association. He has served SCBDA in many leadership capacities. He is also a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Mu Alpha, and Phi Beta Mu. Dr. Gatch is a Past-President of the Palmetto Concert Band, which performed at the prestigious Mid-West Clinic in 1999 and in 2009. Dr. Gatch and his wife, Sidney, have a daughter named Katie and a son, Alex.
Vincent Clayton has been Director of Bands at Ridge View High School since the school opened in 1995. He received both the Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education degrees from the University of South Carolina and has taught in South Carolina for thirty-one years.
Under his direction, the Ridge View band program has quadrupled in size and has received numerous Superior Ratings and awards in marching and concert events. The Blazer Marching Band is a consistent finalist at the South Carolina State Championships and at several Bands of America Regional competitions. The Ridge View Symphonic Band has received numerous Superior Ratings at state and national events. They have performed at the Grand National Adjudicators Invitational, twice at the South Carolina Music Educators State Convention, twice at the University of South Carolina Band Clinic, the University of Southern Mississippi Band Clinic, and at the Bands of America National Concert Festival.
His professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, the South Carolina Music Educators Association, a past board member of the South Carolina Band Directors Association, Phi Beta Mu, Pi Kappa Lambda, and is a past president of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He is also a charter member and Past President of the Palmetto Concert Band. Mr. Clayton has received the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence on four different occasions, and has been awarded the Legion of Honor from the John Philip Sousa Foundation.
Mr. Clayton and his wife Leslie have two children, Grant and Kelsey.
Chief Financial Officer
Charlie Polk, a native South Carolinian, is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where he earned both the Bachelor and Master of Education degrees. Mr. Polk is recently retired after holding the position of Director of Bands at Lexington Middle School in Lexington, S.C for 33 years. While teaching at LMS, his bands consistently earned Superior Ratings at festivals and contests throughout the Southeast. The Lexington Middle School Band received the S.C. Band Director’s Outstanding Performance Award for twenty nine consecutive years. Before coming to LMS in 1979, Mr. Polk was the Director of Bands at Battery Creek H.S. in Beaufort, S.C. In 2012 he received the Outstanding Bandmaster award and was inducted into the Theta Chapter Hall of Fame by Phi Beta Mu. His professional affiliations include the South Carolina Band Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, Phi Beta Mu, and the American School Band Directors Association.
Mr. Polk is an active clinician as well as an accomplished performer on trumpet. He has performed at the Spoleto Festival with both jazz and legit ensembles. He is a member of the Dick Goodwin Big Band, South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, and has played lead trumpet with such renown artists as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Darius Rucker, Johnny Mathis, The Temptations, Andy Williams, and Natalie Cole. In addition, he has performed with touring musical shows including Disney on Ice, the Ringling Brothers, and the Broadway in Columbia series. Locally, he maintains an active schedule of trumpet engagements for weddings, church services, as well as community theater productions.
Mr. Polk and his wife Lessie are the proud parents of daughter Hannah, who is currently teaching band in Cobb County, Georgia.
Sidney Gatch is a native of South Carolina, growing up in Rock Hill and currently residing in Lexington, SC. She is a graduate from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and the National Center for Paralegal Training, Atlanta, GA. She has spent most of her career in the legal field, but the last several years, she has been in the group travel business focusing on travel for school bands, orchestras and choruses. She is the wife of Dr. Jerry Gatch, and the two enjoy two grown children, Katie and Alex.